Great Garrick! Toby is eighth in SW cross-country championships
- Credit: Archant
Sidmouth Running Club member Toby Garrick was in action on the first Sunday of 2018, running in Devon colours at the South West Cross-Country Championships taking place in Aldon Park, Yeovil.
This competition consists of teams of the best eight runners from each of Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Wiltshire and Avon.
The course was a typical cross-country course with hills, mud, wind and, for once, sunshine!
Adding to the difficult factor for the runners was a temperature of just three degrees, which meant spectators needing be to well wrapped up to keep the cold out!
Young Toby was at the start line at 1.55pm and, from the gun, he takes up his race experience, saying: “The gun goes and it’s a sprint to see who can take the lead of the hungry pack charging behind them.
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“A 500m straight is what we face with a sharp right turn into a fierce headwind.
“Constant to and fro between race positions kept all on their toes, prepared for an early surge from the leaders at any time. As the mud got thinner and the wind reduced, everyone knew what was coming: The hill! The thoughts are ticking; ‘Do I attack up it?’, ‘Do I save energy and cruise, but loose some race places?’ It’s a risk, but you’ve got to decide in that split-second.”
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He continued: “I attacked that hill, surging up it, moving through the gears to go from 20th place to a more promising 15th.
“The second lap provided pain and a lot of mental strain. It was now turning into a mental test rather than physical. Keep your legs moving, stay with the runner in front of you, and don’t get overtaken!
“My race tactic changed; I was determined to move up the field to put me in the best position in preparation for the hill. Attacking down steep inclines and gaining momentum I was moving nicely with less pain than before. I had never been this high up in a race as prestigious as this so was out of my comfort zone.
“Adrenaline kicked in at the right time, fuelling me up the hill taking over three runners. I now knew I was at least third in my team, far better than the expectations I gave myself prior to the event.
“All I had to do now was secure this place and stay strong, digging deep and keeping technique sound, for the final 200 metres.
“One competitor rushed by me, sprinting at an unimaginable speed to contrast my race tactics of ‘give all in the race, cruise the end but just hold my place’.
“At this point I had nothing left and was fearing the worst, dreading who else could muster up that final kick to overtake me.
“Luckily, before I knew it I was over the line and was immediately handed a letter with the title ‘London Marathon 2018’!”
Yes, young Toby finished a magnificent eighth – second in terms of the Devon team - and now he is a reserve for The London Mini Marathon in May 2018.
The final word rests with Toby who says: “The outcome is simply wonderful. I never imagined I would finish as highly placed as I did.”
Well done, Toby, and here’s to continued success in the months and years ahead.